The prodigious Emerald Snow has just sent in this commentary on the life history session. Thanks, Emerald!
Caleb Finch opened this session by showing us an interesting case of antagonistic pleiotropy: the ApoE4 allele in humans. ApoE4 causes inflammation, brain aging, and decreases lifespan, however it also protects against infectious disease. Finch also highlighted the work showing that there may be an interaction effect between ApoE4 and air pollution in producing the negative health effects mentioned.
Later in the session Ben Trumble shared his work on the ApoE4 allele in the Tsimane of Bolivia. He found that ApoE4 carriers showed an increased response to infection, and also had increased cognitive performance. Trumble concludes that ApoE4 carriers are likely to have had, and still have, particular fitness advantages in environments of high parasite burden, such as those inhabited by the Tsimane.
Paul Turke shared his hypothesis regarding food allergies in children, and recommended that clinicians and health educators encourage pregnant people to consume the eight common food allergens during gestation.
Lastly, Daniel Kruger highlighted the ways in which life history theory can help us understand why people engage in health protective or health denigrating behaviors using a sample from the REACH (Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health) project in Genesee, Michigan. All in all, a very informative session.